Cathilyn McIntosh, pictured winning the 800m at State, also won at Brooks PR. (Louis Amestoy photo)
A week after polar-opposite results at the 100th CIF-State Track and Field Championships, seniors Mariah Castillo of Saugus (SS) and Cathilyn McIntosh of Del Oro (SJ) each won in impressive fashion at the Brooks PR meet Friday at Shoreline Stadium, just north of Seattle.
McIntosh, the California State Meet champion in the Invitational 800 Meter Run, won the two-lap race in 2:06.50. Castillo, a distance favorite who failed to medal at State, won the Invitational One Mile Run in 4:41.40. Castillo's time converts to 4:39.77 for 1600 meters, the eighth-fastest time in CA history.
McIntosh, a two-time runner-up at the CA State Meet in the 800, finally got to the top of the medals stand last week at Clovis Buchanan High by running a stunning 2:05.22, the seventh-fastest time in CA history. On Friday in Washington, she was equally impressive, navigating around traffic most of the race before breaking free the final 200.
In her last four 800 meter races, McIntosh, bound for Georgetown, has run:
- 2:10.77 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet for the third consecutive year
- 2:07.64 as the top qualifier at State prelims
- 2:05.22 to win State in the fourth-fastest winning time in meet history
- and then Friday's 2:06.50
Mariah Castillo ran away with the CIF-SS D2 and Masters titles in the 3200 in late May. (Lizette Adams photo)
The story is much different for Castillo, bound for Texas Christian University (TCU). She came into the State Meet with the No. 4 time in the US in the 1600 (4:43.69) and No. 6 time in the US in the 3200 (10:06.47), but was never a factor in either race at Buchanan HS.
On Friday in the Pacific Northwest, Castillo came back with a vengeance, running 2:24-2:17 negative splits, and unleashing that lethal kick that mysteriously never engaged in Clovis, running a 65-second final lap to leave Annie Hill (Kalispell (MT) Glacier HS), Bryn Morley (Bigfork (MT) HS) and Madison Mooney (Broomfield (CO) HS) to scramble for places 2-4. Hill was second in 4:46.87.
If this scenario sounds familiar, let us recount that in the fall, Castillo was a disappointed 2nd at the CIF-State XC divisional final. She returned a week later to place a stunningly impressive 3rd at Nike Cross Nationals, also held in the Pacific Northwest.
"Yes, I think there is a parallel with the ending of these two seasons," Castillo wrote in a text exchange on Saturday, after returning home from Seattle. "During both CIF seasons, I wasn't racing my heart out, I was just trying to qualify for state. Once state came, all of the pressure I put on myself throughout the season built up and hit me at the wrong time. There is no doubt that I didn't leave everything I had on the course/track, it just wasn't my day. So when nationals came around, for both seasons, all the pressure was gone and I was just there, run fast."
In that Invitational Mile field at Brooks, McKenna Brown (La Costa Canyon/SD), who was sick at State and didn't medal in either of the distance races, ran with the leaders for the first 800 before fading to 7th (4:53.17). Gillian Wagner (Redwood/NC), the CA D3 champion in XC, was 9th in 4:54.49.
Tierra Robinson-Jones (Bishop O'Dowd/NC), the CA champion in the 200m and 400m, was 2nd in the 400 in Washington, running 53.10. She almost caught winner Jan'Taijah Ford (Oakland Park (FL) Northeast HS), who stumbled across the finish in 53.06.
In winning the 400 at the State Meet, Robinson-Jones ran the single-lap race in 52.37, No. 15 in CA history and No. 5 fastest winning time at the State final. In winning the 200m, she caught 2017 champion Ariyonna Augustine (Long Beach Poly/SS), who was stumbling and fell to the ground at the finish, placing 2nd. Friday's 400 finish was nearly a repeat of that scenario, except for that narrow .04 difference. Senior Alexis Surrell (Newark Memorial/NC) was 8th (56.08). Surrell placed 4th at State -- her third consecutive year qualifying for the final in the 400 -- running the quarter in 54.20.
Deanna Nowling (Calabasas/SS) and Jazmyne Frost (Serra/SS), two of the few non-seniors among the CA representatives at the meet, placed 2nd and 5th, respectively, in the 100 meters. Nowling, the CA champion, ran 11.89. Frost, who helped Serra to the girls team title at State, went 12.12. Another junior, Aliya Wilson (Kent (WA) Tahoma), won in 11.87 (-0.6). Note that Nowling ran 11.47 at Clovis.
In the boys 100, Asani Hampton (Yucaipa/SS) and Christian Shakir-Ricks (Murrieta Mesa/SS), placed 4th and 5th, respectively, in the 100m. Hampton, runner-up at State who posted the No. 2 wind-legal time in CA history of 10.26, clocked on his home track during the Citrus Belt League finals, ran 10.67 (-0.8). Shakir-Ricks, a senior transfer from Cerritos Gahr HS who won the CA 200m title and led the Rams to the school's first State boys team title, clocked 10.74.
In other races involving CA athletes, Liam Anderson (Redwood/NC), a junior who won the CA title in the 1600, and Justin Hazell (El Camino Real/LA), who was second at State in the 3200, finished 9th and 12th, respectively, in the Invitational Two Mile Run. The field went out at 4:32 with Anderson around 4:34 but the leaders split at 4:17 and the top two ran sub-8:50s -- senior James Mwaura (Tacoma (WA) Lincoln) 8:48.76 and sophomore Cole Sprout (Evergreen (CO) Valor Christian) 8:49.46. Anderson crossed in 9:04.49 and Hazell in 9:06.95. Hazell, bound for the University of Portland, ran 8:57.90 for 2nd at State in the 3200.
Senior Olivia O'Keeffe (Davis/SJ), who was 2nd in the State 1600 for the second year in a row and placed 3rd in 3200, competed in the Invitational Two-Mile not far from the University of Washington campus where she will be attending school in the fall. O'Keeffe ran 10:14.84 for the two miles for 7th place, a week after running a 10:12.56 PR for 3200 at State. Canadian Taryn O'Neill (Okanagan Mission in Kelowna, BC) won the Brooks race in 9:54.40.
Senior Alex Scales (Bellarmine/CC) was 11th in the 800 (1:53.83). Sophomore Brandon Miller (St. Louis (MO) John Burroughs) won in 1:51.85. Scales, a former State Meet runner-up in the 800, found greater success this season in the 1600, winning the Central Coast Section title and qualifying for State.
Mariah Castillo (4) was second to Maddy Denner (1) in a 1600 prelim heat at State. (Pat Rhames photo)
Castillo ran the 1600 in 4:43.73 to win the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 title and then doubled back with that PR 10:06.47 to win the 3200 title. At CIF-SS Masters, the qualifier for the State Meet, she dialed it back, placing 5th in 4:48.01 in the 1600, before ramping it back up a bit to win a slow 3200 in 10:22.24.
At State, Castillo qualified with the second-fastest 1600 time (4:46.56) but in the Saturday early evening final, she missed the medals stand by one place, half a second behind freshman Mia Barnett (Village Christian/SS), clocking 4:49.34, well behind winner Maddy Denner (Oak Ridge/SJ), who ran 4:42.37. In the 3200 final at the end of the night, Castillo's time of 10:36.62 was only good for 12th, well behind winner Elena Denner (Oak Ridge/SJ), who crossed in 10:10.32.
"I think I put too much pressure on myself," Castillo wrote. "I was definitely ready (for the State Meet). (Saugus coach Rene) Paragas did everything he could to get me prepared for (State). I felt very confident. But it wasn't my day and I was devastating because it was the second time I came up short.
"Paragas told me that running has its ups and downs. But it's how you respond to the failures in the sport that make you great. Also, that I shouldn't let any off race define who I am as a person and a runner. And he was absolutely right.
"So we just got back out there and even through I felt drained from the two days of hard racing. I just wanted to do my best. I couldn't get out of shape or in better shape.
"Friday I definitely didn't have anything to lose. It was just an awesome opportunity to run fast and have some sort of redemption. And I'm very happy for the opportunity and the outcome of the race."
Press box splits on Castillo's mile were 73-72-71-65.
"The pace felt very comfortable and the last lap I just decided to go for it," she wrote. "And when I was coming down the last 100m, I was 'Holy smokes, this is it! The tape is out and I'm gonna win this.'
"I was extremely happy. But, I didn't see the time because I don't race with my glasses or with contacts. But after, when coach told me, it was just an amazing feeling."
MileSplitCA contributor Mark Gardner provided content for this report.